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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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EEC 205 – Resource Management and Conservation
Course Information

Professor: Dr. Simona Trandafir
Semester: Spring
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: EEC105

Catalog Description: Introduction to economically efficient resource management, the development of management regimes that support a sustainable economy; valuation, property rights, market structure, dynamic resource management

Course Goals & Outcomes

The primary objective of this course is to outline the need for and the means of providing economically efficient resource management. The focus will be on both non-renewable and renewable resources with an emphasis on developing management regimes that support a sustainable economy. To facilitate this process, we will refresh your understanding of economic theory, focusing on the underpinnings of supply and demand and their connection with production and consumer preferences. In addition, the incompatibility of individual and societal objectives will be outlined as they relate to the management of non-renewable and renewable resources. Finally, management regimes which align individual and social objectives will be discussed that center on internalizing the externalities associated with inefficient resource management.

By the end of the semester students will be able to:

  • Identify how property rights issues, market structure and information can lead to inefficiencies in the marketplace
  • Analyze the effectiveness of policies directed at correcting environmental problems
  • Recognize the likely cause of unintended consequences of environmental policies
  • Compute the present value of future costs and benefits of environmental projects
  • Assess the desirability of one environmental project over the other
  • Identify the appropriate valuation method for environmental problems
Course Syllabus

Class topics:

  • Economy and the Environment
  • What exactly is market efficiency?
  • Market Failure
    • Externalities
    • Property rights and the bargaining chip
    • Why don’t we have enough public goods?
  • Public policies for natural resources
    • Command and control
    • Incentive based
    • The “Holy Cow!” in-class exercise (the CAMPFIRE project - why are some animals extinct and others are not?)
    • “Want to drive? Then you have to pay” - Congestion pricing
  • Principles of Analysis
    • Benefit-cost analysis
    • Impact analysis
  • Valuation of natural resources
    • Surveys for environmental problems (Contingent Valuation Method)
    • Revealed Preferences Methods
      • Travel Cost
      • Hedonic Pricing
    • “Save the beach” in-class exercise (design a survey to assess people’s willingness to pay to preserve or improve a coastal area)
  • Mineral Economics
  • Energy Economics
    • Oil addicts
    • The sun, the wind and other “no end, no worries” resources
    • Oil spills: Exxon Valdez vs. the BP case
    • Climate change: is it warming or cooling?
  • Marine Resources
    • Individual Transferable Quotas: permits to efficiency?
    • Ocean acidifications and other global marine issues
  • Forestry
    • “Screwed cork”
About The Professor

Dr. Dr. Simona Trandafir
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
211 Kingston Coastal Institute
University of Rhode Island
Tel: 401-874-7428
Fax: 401-872-7466
email: simona@uri.edu

Dr. Trandafir is an environmental economist who specializes in transportation economics. Her current research interests are:

  • Container port competition
  • Highway externalities and congestion pricing
  • Climate change
Reasons To Take This Course

This course will help you understand why markets sometimes fail and why some categories of natural resources tend to be overused and what regulators can do about these issues. This course takes the EEC 105 (the prerequisite) one step further by using cool concepts, tools, and methods in economics to provide answers to these questions. Its ultimate aim is to equip you with a solid foundation in environmental economics knowledge on which you can build in upper level undergraduate or graduate classes.

Thus, this course is a requirement for environmental and natural resource economics majors and a prerequisite for several other upper level courses.

This course is useful for those interested in pursuing careers as economists in environmental business and marketing, consulting, and government agencies such as EPA, NOAA, and USDA.

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